12-29-2011Humane Society not so Humane anymore, put down cat because owner didn't have money at the moment
Animal lovers threatened to pull donations to an animal rescue group and the public flooded the agency with scathing comments and calls after a man's cat was euthanized when he couldn't afford its medical care, prompting the Arizona Humane Society to go into damage-control mode Wednesday.
The Arizona Republic published a weekend story about Daniel Dockery and his 9-month-old cat, Scruffy.
Dockery told the Phoenix newspaper that he took Scruffy to a Humane Society center on Dec. 8 because she had a cut from a barbed-wire fence, an injury that he described as non-life-threatening. The agency said it would cost $400 to treat Scruffy, money he didn't have.
The Humane Society cited policy when it declined to accept a credit card over the phone from Dockery's mother in Michigan or to wait for her to wire the money. The staff said if he signed papers surrendering the cat, Scruffy would be treated and put in foster care, he said.
Instead, Scruffy was euthanized several hours later.
Dockery told the Republic that he was devastated.
"Now I've got to think about how I failed that beautiful animal," Dockery said. "I failed her. ... That's so wrong. There was no reason for her not to be treated."
Stacy Pearson, who was hired by the agency specifically to deal with media questions about the cat said Scruffy was put down over a number of reasons, including Dockery's lack of immediate funds, a lack of veterinarians to treat her and what Pearson described as a very serious cut on Scruffy from her abdomen to her knee that went to the muscle.
She said the Arizona Humane Society at the time didn't accept credit card payments over the phone because of possible fraud and can't treat pets with only a promise from owners that they can pay the next day
If Dockery had been able to pay, Scruffy would have been treated at the facility where he brought her, Pearson said
Pearson said the group told Dockery on Tuesday that when he's ready for another pet, he could come in and pick one out, but he declined, telling them: "No thanks."